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Friday, August 31, 2012

Dream of Italy Editor on How to Tour Italy Podcast

My old friend Anthony Cappozoli is back with his How to Tour Italy podcasts and I was so excited to be his first guest on his re-launched show. We're both big talkers and give us a half-an-hour and our favorite topic - Italy - and you never know what we will come up with... We discussed Dream of Italy's 10th anniversary, my recent visits to Puglia and Basilicata and much more.

Download the How to Tour Italy podcast here

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Italy Fractional Ownership: Own Part of A House in Umbria

Want to own a home in Italy but don’t want the hassles? Claim your Italian dream with a fractional ownership in Casa Leone, a three-level house in the heart of a small village near Orvieto, Umbria. Your lifetime deeded ownership includes four weeks of use per year.

Visit International Property Shares for all of the details.  

(This is an ad.)

Monday, August 27, 2012

August Issue: Capri, Chianti Wine Tasting, Rome Cooking Class

The August issue of Dream of Italy - covering Anacapri, Chianti, new Rome hotels, new Italy hotels and a Rome cooking class -  is hot off the presses.

If you're NOT a subscriber, subscribe today to instantly access the PDF version of this issue and nearly 100 additional back issues of our award-winning print newsletter. .

Our paid subscribers (who can log-in here) are reading the following articles this month:

Anacapri: The Peaceful Summit of Capri
When you want to escape the hustle bustle of other areas of the island of Capri, hit the top of the island - Anacapri - where a wonderful small, villa villa hotel awaits, as well as shopping, dining, historic sites and captivating views.

An Afternoon in Chianti
Want to go wine tasting in Chianti while you're visiting Florence? This fun, very affordable day trip takes you to a castle estate with oodles of history (a Medici murder was plotted here) and exceptional Tuscan vineyards.

Eternal Luxury: Two New Rome Hotels
Introducing a new resort, of sorts, next to the Vatican in Rome and filled with history (and your very own pool concierge). Plus an art-filled luxury hotel opens just near Piazza del Popolo.

New Italy Hotels
A stunning luxury resort opens in the hills of Tuscany and a sophisticated, urban hotel chain plans a new property in Milan to open in 2013.

Cook Out of Your Comfort Zone
This Roman chef urges students to try something new during his Rome cooking lessons.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Best Sardinia Beach? Might Be Rene Bianca In Santa Teresa di Gallura

Italy is sweltering this week under an oppressive heat wave. Surely, Italians have flocked to the beach, not only to cool down but because in August that's what Italians do. Some of Italy's best beaches (indeed some of the world's finest beaches) are on the island of Sardinia. Our friend Susan Van Allen reveals her favorite Sardinia beach, where history, authenticity and sheer beauty come together!

Photo by Pedro Cerqueira, flickr.com

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

This Ferragosto Holiday, Enjoy The Movie Trailer for the Italian Film "Mid-August Lunch"

One of my favorite Italian movies of all time is Pranzo di Ferragosto (or Mid-August Lunch). The charming and funny tale of a Roman man who gets stuck caring for three elderly women (his mother, the mothers of two friends and an aunt of a friend thrown in for good measure) on the most important of Italian holidays (when Italians head to the beache and countryside en masse) - August 15th or Ferragosto.

Enjoy this subtitled trailer from the movie and if you want to watch the whole f, you can download the video (with English subtitles) instantly for $3.99 from Amazon. Keep in mind, none of the elderly women are professional actors!

Buon Ferragosto!

Monday, August 13, 2012

New Ferry Landing Tax for Islands in Tuscany, Amalfi Coast, Sicily

August is prime vacation time in Italy with this week in particular a popular time to hit the beach. Italians, and foreigners alike, headed for some Tuscan, Amalfi Coast and Sicilian islands will be paying a bit more for the privilege.

These islands are now charging a ferry landing tax of 1 euro per passenger in the cases of the Tuscan islands of Giglio and Giannutri and 1.5 euros for the islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida along the Amalfi Coast and the Aeolian islands of Sicily.

The taxes are being collected by the ferry companies when tickets are purchased and are a way to try to help local governments struggling during the Italian financial crisis.

According to The Florentine, "Residents and homeowners, as well as workers and commuters, students, and other employees who have to travel to the two Tuscan islands will be exempt from paying the one-euro-per-person tax." This will apply for the islands in the other areas of Italy as well.

About.com reports that the Amalfi Coast islands have cancelled their previous hotel tax so as not to penalize visitors who spend the night.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Read This Italy Travel Blog on Kindle

Do you love reading about travel to Italy? Want to keep up with the latest Italy travel news? Love your Kindle? Well, now you can enjoy all of your passions at once! This blog, the Dream of Italy Travel Blog, is now available on your Kindle Reader!

So all of our posts will be delivered to your Kindle and you can read them at your leisure. You can enjoy the blog or free for 14 days, after that its is 99 cents a month to receive all of the content on this blog on your Kindle. (Note: This won't give you full access to our paid newsletter which is currently only available in print/online via subscription on our main site.)

Kindle blogs are fully downloaded onto your Kindle so you can read them even when you're not wirelessly connected. And unlike RSS readers which often only provide headlines, blogs on Kindle give you full text content and images, and are updated wirelessly throughout the day.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Chefs Pick Best Places to Eat in Italy

It seems to be a bit of a random list but in compiling the 101 Best Restaurants in the World 2012, Newsweek editors consulted dozens of noteworthy chefs (many of whom are American) on their picks and seven of them chose restaurants (or food stands) in Italy.

Here is a quick recap of this group's choices best places to eat in Italy:

  • Tim Love, Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Fort Worth, Texas  chose Caffe Duomo in Florence for its spaghetti carbonara
  • Brandon McGlamery, Prato, Winter Park, Fla. says Hosteria Giusti in Modena is " a classic, family-run Italian restaurant that everyone should try when in the region.” (We recommended the related salumeria in our article on food in Modena)
  • Heather Terhune, Sable Kitchen & Bar, Chicago raves about the chestnut ravioli and chicken-liver mousse at La Buccacia in Cortona (Tuscany)
  • Terhune  also can't get enough of the porchetta food truck (call 39-349-60390) on the streets of Cortona
  • Lidia Bastiniach is a huge supporter of her home region of Friuli and says if you are at Lu Subida in Cormons in the fall, "have that polenta served with sautéed porcini mushrooms and braised wild boar.” (We have an extensive review of Lu Subida in our article on dining in Friuli.)
  • Jaime Oliver can't get enough of the polenta for sale in Bari, the capital of Puglia, telling Newsweek, "“There is a very old woman—I think she has just one tooth—and she sits on a low stool with a pile of polenta that looks like a stack of gold bars. In front of her is a cauldron of hot oil. She clanks up one of the bars, deep-fat-fries it, and serves it in a paper cone with sea salt. Amazingly delicious."
  • Fergus Henderson, St. John, London votes Trattoria Sostanza in Florence for the best Florentine steak

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Keep Calm and Dream of Italy

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Author Gore Vidal Owned Ravello Italy Villa For Three Decades

The American author Gore Vidal has died at the age of 86. The iconic Vidal will be remembered for many things including his 25 novels and political activism. Vidal will also be noted for his enduring love for Italy. He lived in Ravello on Italy's Amalfi Coast for more than three decades. Vidal was known to locals as "Il Maestro."

Gore Vidal owned one of the most stunning villas in all of Italy; the cliffside La Rondinaia (The Swallow's Nest). He sold it for a reported $17 million in 2006. Vidal's villa, purchased by an Amalfi Coast hotelier, was slated to become a luxury hotel but appears to have remained a private rental. View this video interview with Gore Vidal inside La Rondinaia.

In a 2004, The New York Times wrote about Vidal and his relationship with the villa, "La Rondinaia already had a pedigree when Vidal bought it in 1972. It was built in the late 19th century by a daughter of Lord Grimthorpe, a lawyer and architect who owned the massive Villa Cimbrone just up the slope. But it took Vidal to make the pedigreed house legendary. Like his friend Greta Garbo, Vidal wanted to be alone, but with select company. In their reclusive paradise, he and his longtime companion, Howard Austen, who died last year (2003), entertained Rudolf Nureyev, Mick and Bianca Jagger, Lauren Bacall, Paul Newman, Tennessee Williams and Princess Margaret, among many others."

La Rondinaia had 20 levels as it was built into the cliffs and it could only be reached on foot. At the time, Vidal said he selling because he could no longer walk into Ravello's piazza from his home.
Photo by Courtney Bolton, flickr.com